Master of Science in Criminal Justice Curriculum

Forensic Psychology Concentration

Semester 1
Psychology and Law
Statistical Applications in Forensic Psychology
Semester 2
Research Design and Analysis in Forensic Psychology
Legal and Ethical Issues in FP
Psychopathology & Criminal Behavior
Intersession: Pick one of the following
Lifestyles & Career Development
Cultural Competence Seminar
Semester 3
Proseminar in Advanced Clinical & Experimental FP
Mental Health Law
Applied Advanced Psychological Assessment
Semester 4
Psychology of Sex Crimes
Substance Abuse
Forensic Counseling

Structure of the Program:

Courses are held on Saturdays on main campus from 9:00am to 6:40pm. The structure of the day is as follows:

Class 1: 9:00am - 11:40am
Lunch: 11:40pm - 1:00pm
Class 2: 1:00pm - 3:40pm
Class 3: 4:00pm - 6:40pm

Course Descriptions:

PSY 511 Psychology and Law
This class examines the theoretical and empirical bases for the field forensic psychology. Students will explore how psychologist interacts with offenders, victims and criminal justice agencies. Topics will also include the role of psychologist in mental health law and family.

PSY 520 Statistical Applications in Forensic Psychology
Students in this course explore the principles and application of statistical models and techniques that are of value in the criminal justice system. All types of social science statistical uses will be explored from descriptive to inferential, to sophisticated statistical measurement. Particular emphasis will be place on the application of statistical techniques to research in Forensic Psychology and criminal justice.

PSY 525 Victimology
This course will cover the broad views of the study of victims at the social, legal individual, and psychological level. The course is designed to broaden the understanding of victims. The student will be given the history of how victims have been treated over time, how the interface of victim-offender dynamics has changed in the criminal justice system, how society treats victims, and the psychological processes, services, and therapeutic remedies that are available for victims. Various types of victims/crimes will be covered. Legislative and social movements geared at advancing public awareness for victims will be discussed.

PSY 515 Research Design and Analysis in Forensic Psychology
Students in this course will receive an in-depth examination of the application, construction and design of research as it applies to Forensic Psychology. Content includes discussion of philosophy of science, reliability, validity, questionnaire construction, sampling, and a variety of research designs commonly found in Forensic Psychology research. Each student would be responsible for designing and implementing an original, empirical research project.

PSY 530 Legal and Ethical Issues in Forensic Psychology
Forensic Psychologists encounter ethical conflicts when called upon to function in the criminal justice system. This course will focus on various ethical, legal, and professional controversies, and dilemmas. Analysis and resolution of these controversies and dilemmas will be explored. Topics include the psychologist – examinee relationship, the retaining party-examiner relationship, legal limits on confidentiality, the psychologist as expert witness, forensic psychology records, etc.

PSY 551 Psychopathology & Criminal Behavior
This course explores the link between psychological disorders and different types of criminal behavior. It will provide an in-depth examination of the etiology, symptomology, and dynamics involved in personality deviation, and emotional disorder. Disorders from DSM-IV will be covered. Psychological assessment using the DSM-IV and intensive case material will be used.

PSY 630 Lifestyles and Career Development
Holistically explores the interrelationships among personality, lifestyle, career choice and career development, and considers the ethical implications of these issues, especially as a person’s career affects the lives of other people. Participants will be involved in a variety of individual and group experiences designed to raise and promote a personal commitment to self-awareness and an understanding of how this affects lifestyle and career development. This course is offered in a weeklong seminar format, as needed.

PSY 635 Cultural Competence Seminar
Students will work to increase awareness of and appreciation for cultural differences. The course will require that participants consider and examine their own values, attitudes and biases; reflect upon personal life experiences that have contributed to their understanding of differences and diverse cultures; examine how mental health/forensic issues are viewed in the context of the value systems embraced by different cultures; apply analysis to understand organizational barriers that interfere with providing culturally competent services; develop an action plan for addressing culturally competent services and agencies.

PSY 640 Thesis
Thesis is an original, empirical research project. The student will work closely with an advisor, producing a work corresponding to the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychology Association. Students can register for this course in any of the semesters and continue till completion.

PSY 620 Psychology of Sex Crimes
This course explores the wide net that the term sex crime casts. In exploring the many different types of sex crimes that exist, detailed focus will be placed on the typology and etiology of the offenders who commit these various crimes and the effect that these crimes have on their victims. The legal system has put in place many policies governing sex offenders based upon an underlying assumption that sex offenders pose a greater risk to society than other types of criminals. We will discuss the various legal issues that surround sex offenders and explore empirical research to determine if this underlying assumption is valid. Topics of treatment effectiveness, therapeutic jurisprudence, and the challenges of managing sex offenders in the community will also be discussed.

PSY 547 Mental Health Law
This course will introduce students to the psych-legal issues in mental health law. The course will study the needs and rights of individuals with mental illness and mental retardation, the delivery of mental health services, the regulation of mental health professions, and the concerns of society for persons with mental disability. Other topics to be considered include competence, commitment, the right to treatment, the Americans with Disability Act, restraint and treatment issues, advanced psychiatric directives and natural supports in the community.

PSY 625 Applied Advanced Psychological Assessment
This course will explore the various assessment instruments used in clinical and forensic psychology that assess individuals. It will address the psychological factors to be assessed, clinical tools, interviews, projective tests, TAT, WISC-R, and other psychological tools. The course will review the gamut of approaches to assessment and treatment. Goal evaluation (of offender/victim/client) will be discussed. Goal plans (evaluation of the entire context/course of treatment) will be examined. Concepts such as the therapeutic alliance, transference, resistance, clarification and confrontation, interpretation, and termination will be covered.

PSY 613 Professional Seminar in Advanced Clinical & Experimental Forensic Psychology
This course provides an in-depth examination of the areas of Advanced Clinical and Experimental Forensic Psychology. Students will conduct analyses of contemporary topics in these two areas as they impact the criminal justice system. The source would include both intensive small group analysis, as well as, individual examination of topics.

PSY 614 Substance Abuse
Examines the types of abusable substances, the symptomology, etiology, and treatment of substance abuse. The relationship of substance abuse to criminal behavior and emotional functioning are examined. Regulation, prevention strategies, and treatment strategies are examined. The entire spectrum of substance abuse is examined.

PSY 637 Forensic Counseling
This course will cover the theories and practice strategies involved in counseling juvenile and adult offenders. Emphasis is on the evaluation and the development of effective models and treatment oriented interventions for counseling clients in a correctional or community environment. Focus is on development of effective knowledge and skills in working with legally involved and court committed adult and juvenile offenders.